Leads: David Ng

Most Exceptional Escapades in Science

Our high school conference. Twice a year, teams of scientists, lab experiments, keynote speakers, and 90 students or teachers.

Usually, twice a year, AMBL hosts a free full day science education conference. These are often similar in content where one hosts high school teachers, and the other hosts high school students. Here, we utilize our teaching facility to its fullest capacity – including keynote sessions for up to 100 participants, and a myriad of hands-on activities.

You can see previous examples, by clicking the year links:
2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008


Our next escapades will be for high school students, and is scheduled for May 27th, 2016. Programming is presented below although minor changes may still occur. Unfortunately, we are now full, please click here to be placed on a waitlist.



General Information and Schedule For May 27th, 2016

This event showcases various scientific pursuits, including the opportunity for you to engage in hands-on activities, as well as interact with some of the most prominent scientists in the world. This year’s program is looking awesome! We’re going to explore a variety of SCIENCE themed pursuits. Note that targeted audience is Grade 10, 11, and 12 students, but we do on occasion have a few Grade 8s and 9s as well.


VENUE: Michael Smith Building. For directions, please click on this link.

Conference doors will open as early as 8:30am, with the program starting at 9:00am SHARP. See below for full schedule details.

08:30 – 09:00 Doors open.

09:00 – 09:10 WELCOME FROM Dr. David Ng
09:10 – 09:40 Dr David Ng, Michael Smith Laboratories.
09:40 – 10:10 Dr. Phil Hieter, Michael Smith Laboratories.

10:10 – 10:20 10 minute break.

10:20 – 10:50 Dr. Susan Allen, Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

10:50 – 11:00 Introduction to ESCAPADES rotations.
Rotation #1 – See descriptions of hand-on activities below.

12:00 – 12:45 LUNCH (on your own)

Rotation #2 – See descriptions of hand-on activities below.
Rotation #3 – See descriptions of hand-on activities below.

3:00 – 3:15 Close and draw prizes.
3:30PM END

HANDS-ON/INTERACTIVE ACTIVITIES for the 2016 Conference include:

I. SUPERHERO PLASMIDS: A hands-on activity designed to explore the principles of biological engineering by designing a custom-made DNA plasmid that will combat a potential world-wide catastrophe (GenomeBC)

II. ON THE HUNT FOR MUONS: In which students will be shown how to make a DIY Cloud Chamber fully capable of detecting sub-atomic particles. (Host: Michael Smith Labs)

III. TERMITE GUT MICROSCOPY: In which students will travel over to the Biological Sciences building and into the undergraduate microscopy lab. Here, you will do a dissection to remove a termite gut, and use a microscope to examine the microbes that live inside – these are there to help the bug digest wood. (Host: UBC Biology)


Dr. David Ng*
“David Ng is a geneticist, science educator, part time writer, and faculty based at the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia. He is interested in various areas of science literacy, and is particularly engaged when the notions of science and art intersect. Of note: (1) he is partly responsible for the massive DNA helix emblazoned on his building’s facade; (2) his Dad beat up Bruce Lee; (3) his first foray into general publishing featured a unicorn on the front cover; and (4) his wife and kids are all exemplary.”
(via http://thisishowitalkscience.tumblr.com)

Dr. Susan Allen
“I am a physical oceanographer with skills in fluid mechanics and interested in how they can apply to studies in coastal oceanography, mesoscale meteorology and biogeochemical-physical interactions in the ocean. My largest scholarly contributions have included 1) understanding flow over and around topography and particularly canyons, and the resulting impacts; and 2) biological-physical interactions involved in the timing of the phytoplankton spring bloom. If one can create a simple model of a phenomena so much of our intuition and understanding can be illustrated and quantified. My newest project (since Fall 2013) has been a short-term forecast model for the Salish Sea as part of the Marine Environment Observation, Predication and Response Network of Centres of Excellence.”
(via https://www.eoas.ubc.ca/about/faculty/S.Allen.html)

Dr. Phil Hieter
“Changes in genome structure and sequence often underlie the onset of cancer. Indeed, genes that maintain genome structure are evolutionarily conserved and are often mutated in cancer scenarios. In other words, mutations that cause genome instability are considered important predisposing events that contribute to the initiation and/or progression of cancer. My lab’s general approach is to develop and apply genetic and biochemical methodologies in the model organism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (bakers yeast), with the overarching goal of relating our work in yeast to human cancer. We have established an extensive genome instability gene catalog in yeast that provides a resource to identify cross species, candidate human genes that could, in turn, cause chromosome instability (CIN) in human cancer. Our functional studies of selected CIN genes in yeast have led to a wide range of insights into various aspects of how chromosomes function”
(via http://hieterlab.msl.ubc.ca/)